Train cancellations 'worst level on record' amid ongoing strike action

Further strike action is due to take place in October in a continued dispute over train drivers pay.

Train cancellations across UK ‘worst level on record’, according to Office of Rail and Road figures iStock

The reliability of train services across Britain has reached the worst level on record, according to new figures.

Official statistics indicate that the industry’s cancellations score during the 12 months to August 20 this year was 3.7%.

It is the poorest reliability on record dating back to 2015, with data gathered by the Office of Rail and Road.

The score for all services in the latest available four-week period from July 24 to August 20 was 4.9%.

Between those dates, the worst individual operator was Avanti West Coast, with its highest ever score of 14.9%.

Cancellation scores reflect the percentage of services that are either fully or partly cancelled.

Strike action has caused disruption to services across the UK throughout the summer months.

Further action is planned for October, as unions call for the UK Government to find a resolution.

A spokesman for industry body the Rail Delivery Group described the strikes as “unnecessary and damaging”.

“We know that reliability and punctuality are the most important areas for improvement for our passengers and apologise to all those who have experienced disruption to their travel plans,” he said.

“We need to end the unnecessary and damaging strikes called by the leaders of the transport unions which disrupt passengers’ plans, undermine struggling businesses and upend the industry’s recovery.

“They are opposing the very reforms that will improve reliability and punctuality and therefore help build a sustainable railway.”

A spokesman for rail operator Avanti explained that the company has brought in a reduced timetable to ensure a more reliable service for passengers.

“We know we’re not delivering the service our customers rightly expect and we apologise for the enormous frustration and inconvenience,” they said.

“We remain committed to delivering the best possible service for our customers and the communities we serve.

“A shortage of staff, particularly drivers, who were willing to volunteer for overtime, led to a marked increase in the number of short-term cancellations, which we know are highly disruptive for customers.

“As a result, we reduced our timetable to ensure a more reliable service. This was not a decision we took lightly and we are now in the process of rebuilding the timetable in a sustainable and robust way without the reliance on overtime.”

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